By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
The young drop coverage to avoid higher premiums
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Stung by ongoing protests, Vladimir Putin and his supporters have responded with mass rallies across Russia ahead of Sunday's presidential election - a tactic that seems to have paid off.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sternly warned the West not to interfere in Russia's elections as he launched his campaign to reclaim the presidency in a speech Sunday before thousands of flag-waving supporters.
"We've seen an intense election campaign by Putin, and it looks to have been effective," said Masha Lipman, a political analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank. "It's almost a given now that he will win in the first round of voting."
"He's consistently eviscerated all other centers of power," said Ms. Lipman. "He's suppressed and/or taken under control of parliament, political parties, regional governors, big business and major media. Plus he's effectively secured the political arena from any other unwanted players."